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Flight: A Novel

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Flight: A Novel Cover

 

Staff Pick

Darkly funny, sharply observant, Flight lays bare the experience of a teenaged outsider circa 2007. Alternately heartbreaking and wondrous, Sherman Alexie's first novel in ten years tells the story of an orphan careening through foster homes until finally, not long after we meet him, he walks into a bank and comes unstuck in time. Gritty, intense, and especially timely, it's a lightning-fast read besides.
Recommended by Dave, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Sherman Alexie is one of our most gifted and accomplished storytellers and a treasured writer of huge national stature. His first novel since Indian Killer is a powerful, fast, and timely story of a troubled foster teenager — a boy who is not a legal Indian because he was never claimed by his father — who learns the true meaning of terror.

The journey for this young hero begins as he's about to commit a massive act of violence. At the moment of decision, he finds himself shot back through time and resurfaced in the body of an FBI agent during the civil rights era. Here he will be forced to see just why Hell is Red River, Idaho, in the 1970s. Red River is only the first stop in a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He will continue traveling back to inhabit the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Bighorn and then ride with an Indian tracker in the nineteenth century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. During these frantic trips through time, his refrain grows: Who's to judge? and I don't understand humans. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all he's seen.

This is Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant — making us laugh while he's breaking our hearts. Time Out has said that "Alexie, like his characters, is on a modern-day vision quest," and this has never been clearer than in Flight, where he seeks nothing less than an understanding of why human beings hate. Simultaneously wrenching and deeply humorous, wholly contemporary yet steeped in American history, Flight is irrepressible, fearless, and groundbreaking Alexie.

Review:

"A deadpan 'Call Me Zits' opens the first novel in 10 years from Alexie (Smoke Signals, etc.), narrated by a self-described 'time-traveling mass murderer' whose name and deeds unravel as this captivating bildungsroman progresses. Half-Indian, half-Irish, acne-beset Zits is 15: he never knew his alcoholic father; his mother died when he was six; his aunt kicked him out when he was 10 (after he set her sleeping boyfriend on fire because the boyfriend had been forcing Zits to have sex). Running away from his 20th foster home, Zits ends up, briefly, in jail; soon after, he enters a bank, shoots several people and is shot dead himself. Zits then commences time-traveling via the bodies of others, finding himself variously lodged in an FBI agent in the '70s (helping to assassinate radical Indian activists); a mute Indian boy at the Battle of Little Big Horn; an Indian tracker named Gus; an airplane pilot instructor (one of whose pupils commits a terrorist act); and his own father. Zits eventually comes back to himself and to an unexpected redemption. While the plot is wisp-thin, one quickly surrenders to Zits's voice, which elegantly mixes free-floating young adult cynicism with a charged, idiosyncratic view of American history. Alexie plunges the book into bracing depths." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A funny, irreverent, sardonic but sentimental, rebellious voice set beside his elder...contemporaries....Alexie is the bad boy among them, mocking, self-mocking, unpredictable, unassimilable, reminding us of the young Philip Roth." Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

Review:

"I won't spoil the ending. It is so unexpected, yet earned and deserved. But I will tell you, right here in the pages of a public newspaper, that I cried at the end." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"Whatever [Flight] is — literary exercise, rapid-fire monologue, adolescent vision quest — it is nevertheless an often thrilling and surprising ride, and wholly Alexie." Village Voice

Review:

"Alexie's concentrated and mesmerizing novel of instructive confrontations is structured around provocative variations on the meanings and implications of flight as it asserts that people of all backgrounds are equally capable of good and evil." Booklist

Review:

"Despite its conceits, Flight is the most unpretentious novel I've read in a long time. It's a narrative stripped to its core, all rage and heart... raw and vital, often raucously funny, and there isn't a false word in it." Tom Barbash, The New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

The best-selling author of multiple award-winning books returns with his first novel in ten years, a powerful, fast and timely story of a troubled foster teenager — a boy who is not a “legal” Indian because he was never claimed by his father — who learns the true meaning of terror. About to commit a devastating act, the young man finds himself shot back through time on a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He resurfaces in the form of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, inhabits the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Big Horn, and then rides with an Indian tracker in the 19th Century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all hes seen. This is Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant — making us laugh while breaking our hearts. Simultaneously wrenching and deeply humorous, wholly contemporary yet steeped in American history, Flight is irrepressible, fearless, and again, groundbreaking Alexie.

About the Author

Sherman Alexie is the author of Reservation Blues, Indian Killer, The Toughest Indian in the World, and Ten Little Indians. He wrote and directed The Business of Fancydancing and also wrote the award-winning screenplay for Smoke Signals, a film based on his short-story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 24 comments:

yipslsquirrel, July 7, 2011 (view all comments by yipslsquirrel)
Sherman Alexie seldom disappoints, and I am glad I stumbled on this, one of his more fastasy-tinged and, ultimately, more hopeful books. Alexie takes several genres: the wounded, troubled, soft-hearted streetwise juvenile narrative, the magical time-travel near-death reverie, the Rashomon different-perspective shifting focus, the American Indian Tales of Shame manifesto - and somehow works them into a nearly seamless set of surprises including an unusually happy ending to an impossible and yet credible tale. No one is all-villain or all hero in this disturbing yet encouraging novel, easy to read in an afternoon, with ideas that will keep you thinking long after the final page.
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Elliott, January 24, 2011 (view all comments by Elliott)
Sherman Alexie has written a heartbreakingly beautiful book. He writes in a style that is plain and poetic at the same time. Like his other books, Alexie writes riffs off Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five but makes the story uniquely his own. With a first line that is funny and sad, as well as a recollection of the first line from Moby Dick, Sherman Alexie introduces us to the protagonist with: Call me Zits.From there he crafts a darkly observant story of a displaced outsider who finds himself careening through foster homes and time. At first the time travel element struck me as merely a literary conceit but by the end of the novel it became evident that Alexie used all of the different settings and people that Zits inhabits throughout American history, including Zits' own father who abandoned him, to reveal the undercurrent of sorrow and violence that comes with alienation.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
jadelin, September 5, 2010 (view all comments by jadelin)
Sherman Alexie is a master storyteller. In Flight, he tells the story of a teenaged young man living in the foster system. He is half Indian. Through a series of dreams, Zits (the protagonist, presents the reader with various slices of la historical and current lived experience. In each dream Alexie displays glimpses of life that illustrate the plights that have faced indians throughout the history of this country. His wry writing style and unparalleled ability to weave complex plights of the challenging life of a people who have been continuously injured, insulted and prohibited from preserving and living life as their culture has defined are not to be missed. Flight is the story of a young man on the run from this fragmented, tortured past and into a hopeful life in the future. As usual, Alexie writes with clarity, depth and humor. Great book.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 24 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802170378
Author:
Alexie, Sherman
Publisher:
Grove Press
Author:
Alexie
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Indians of north america
Subject:
Foster children
Subject:
Native American Studies
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
March 28, 2007
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 8.5 oz

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Bestsellers
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books
History and Social Science » Native American » Literature
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Flight: A Novel New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.00 In Stock
Product details 208 pages Pgw - English 9780802170378 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Darkly funny, sharply observant, Flight lays bare the experience of a teenaged outsider circa 2007. Alternately heartbreaking and wondrous, Sherman Alexie's first novel in ten years tells the story of an orphan careening through foster homes until finally, not long after we meet him, he walks into a bank and comes unstuck in time. Gritty, intense, and especially timely, it's a lightning-fast read besides.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A deadpan 'Call Me Zits' opens the first novel in 10 years from Alexie (Smoke Signals, etc.), narrated by a self-described 'time-traveling mass murderer' whose name and deeds unravel as this captivating bildungsroman progresses. Half-Indian, half-Irish, acne-beset Zits is 15: he never knew his alcoholic father; his mother died when he was six; his aunt kicked him out when he was 10 (after he set her sleeping boyfriend on fire because the boyfriend had been forcing Zits to have sex). Running away from his 20th foster home, Zits ends up, briefly, in jail; soon after, he enters a bank, shoots several people and is shot dead himself. Zits then commences time-traveling via the bodies of others, finding himself variously lodged in an FBI agent in the '70s (helping to assassinate radical Indian activists); a mute Indian boy at the Battle of Little Big Horn; an Indian tracker named Gus; an airplane pilot instructor (one of whose pupils commits a terrorist act); and his own father. Zits eventually comes back to himself and to an unexpected redemption. While the plot is wisp-thin, one quickly surrenders to Zits's voice, which elegantly mixes free-floating young adult cynicism with a charged, idiosyncratic view of American history. Alexie plunges the book into bracing depths." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "A funny, irreverent, sardonic but sentimental, rebellious voice set beside his elder...contemporaries....Alexie is the bad boy among them, mocking, self-mocking, unpredictable, unassimilable, reminding us of the young Philip Roth."
"Review" by , "I won't spoil the ending. It is so unexpected, yet earned and deserved. But I will tell you, right here in the pages of a public newspaper, that I cried at the end."
"Review" by , "Whatever [Flight] is — literary exercise, rapid-fire monologue, adolescent vision quest — it is nevertheless an often thrilling and surprising ride, and wholly Alexie."
"Review" by , "Alexie's concentrated and mesmerizing novel of instructive confrontations is structured around provocative variations on the meanings and implications of flight as it asserts that people of all backgrounds are equally capable of good and evil."
"Review" by , "Despite its conceits, Flight is the most unpretentious novel I've read in a long time. It's a narrative stripped to its core, all rage and heart... raw and vital, often raucously funny, and there isn't a false word in it."
"Synopsis" by ,
The best-selling author of multiple award-winning books returns with his first novel in ten years, a powerful, fast and timely story of a troubled foster teenager — a boy who is not a “legal” Indian because he was never claimed by his father — who learns the true meaning of terror. About to commit a devastating act, the young man finds himself shot back through time on a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He resurfaces in the form of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, inhabits the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Big Horn, and then rides with an Indian tracker in the 19th Century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all hes seen. This is Sherman Alexie at his most brilliant — making us laugh while breaking our hearts. Simultaneously wrenching and deeply humorous, wholly contemporary yet steeped in American history, Flight is irrepressible, fearless, and again, groundbreaking Alexie.
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